Skip to comments.Vegan diet reverses diabetes symptoms, study finds
Posted on 07/28/2006 4:30:14 AM PDT by grundle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - People who ate a low-fat vegan diet, cutting out all meat and dairy, lowered their blood sugar more and lost more weight than people on a standard American Diabetes Association diet, researchers said on Thursday.
They lowered their cholesterol more and ended up with better kidney function, according to the report published in Diabetes Care, a journal published by the American Diabetes Association.
Participants said the vegan diet was easier to follow than most because they did not measure portions or count calories. Three of the vegan dieters dropped out of the study, compared to eight on the standard diet.
"I hope this study will rekindle interest in using diet changes first, rather than prescription drugs," Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine, which helped conduct the study, told a news conference.
An estimated 18 million Americans have type-2 diabetes, which results from a combination of genetics and poor eating and exercise habits. They run a high risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and limb loss.
Barnard's team and colleagues at George Washington University, the University of Toronto and the University of North Carolina tested 99 people with type-2 diabetes, assigning them randomly to either a low-fat, low-sugar vegan diet or the standard American Diabetes Association diet.
After 22 weeks on the diet, 43 percent of those on the vegan diet and 26 percent of those on the standard diet were either able to stop taking some of their drugs such as insulin or glucose-control medications, or lowered the doses.
The vegan dieters lost 14 pounds (6.5 kg) on average while the diabetes association dieters lost 6.8 pounds (3.1 kg).
An important level of glucose control called a1c fell by 1.23 points in the vegan group and by 0.38 in the group on the standard diet.
A1c gives a measure of how well-controlled blood sugar has been over the preceding three months.
In the dieters who did not change whatever cholesterol drugs they were on during the study, LDL or "bad" cholesterol fell by 21 percent in the vegan group and 10 percent in the standard diet group.
The vegan diet removed all animal products, including meat, fish and dairy. It was also low in added fat and in sugar.
The American Diabetes Association diet is more tailored, taking into account the patient's weight and cholesterol. Most patients on this diet cut calories significantly, and were told to eat sugary and starchy foods in moderation.
All 99 participants met weekly with advisers, who advised them on recipes, gave them tips for sticking to their respective diets, and offered encouragement.
"We have got a combination here that works successfully," said Dr. David Jenkins of the University of Toronto, who worked on the study. "The message that we so often get with diet is that it is no good because nobody follows it for very long."
Dr. Joshua Cohen, George Washington University associate professor of medicine, said everyone diagnosed with diabetes is told to start eating more carefully.
"That may be among the hardest things that any of us can do," Cohen told the news conference.
The vegan diet "is at least as good, if not better than traditional approaches," Cohen said.
Vance Warren, a 36-year-old retired police officer living in Washington, said he lowered his a1c from 10.4, considered uncontrolled diabetes, to 5.1, considered a healthy level, over 18 months. "My life is much better being 74 pounds (34 kg) lighter," Warren told the news conference.
I'll bet it is, Mr. Warren! Good on you!
Interesting that he's a "retired police officer" at 36. I wonder if he's on disability retirement, due to complications of his (former) weight.
No, excercies and eating 1/3 of what your normal diet is reverses diabetes.
I am living proof.
Be active and leave the spoon in the drawer.
Hmmmm... I do have some Rocky Road Ice Cream calling me on this cool, sultry day....darn back is out and I can't bend down to pull it from the freezer.
Smores sound good too but again all I can take is one else the body goes nuts.
I have type 2 diabetes and it isn't the meat and dairy products that are the problem. It's the carbohydrates. As long as I keep the starches, pasta, bread, etc. at a minimum my blood sugar is under control. As with anything else, moderation is the key.
Too many years at the donut shop.
Wonder how many simple carbs from sugar and highly refined grains were on the Vegan diet? Most vegans I know only eat vegetables, fruits and natural grains. Nothing animal related at all, which cuts out practically all jumk carbs.
Good rule of thumb: When you cook, your ingredients shouldn't have ingredients.
Oh sooo true I like my home made soup but I use black rice in the this time of year Chicken, squash veg soup.
THe white rice and taters are killer however I can eat 1/4 of a tator and stay in healthy range.
Have to admit being diabetic in reverse not alot of money goes to the local grocery store and my saving acct. is growing.
Didn't spend millions of years getting to the top of the food chain, to eat salad.
ping for later
Animal products have no carbs at all (except for milk which has milk-sugar). I think you meant to say "junk calories".
Do cows have cholesterol and if so, where do they get it from?
Dr. John McDougall has been telling us this for 20 years but no one will listen. Take a look at this website.. http://www.drmcdougall.com Some really good info about healthy eating and how it can cure some of the cronic problems many of us have.
Interesting. Can you suggest any reading material that supports this?
I was making an observation that the Vegan diet may/could also have a very low glycemic index, i.e. junk calories, just as a ketogenic diet like the Atkins plan does. It is simple carbs that trigger the insulin response.
A lot of foods which have simple carbs in them that you avoid on a ketogenic diet, such as Pasta and bread, contain animal products; eggs, milk, animal fat, etc., so a Vegan wouldn't eat them. Most of the Vegans are also very conscious about what they drink, favoring "all natural", "organic", etc., thus avoiding more junk calories in soda, refined juice, etc.
So, for controlling the insulin reaction, a Vegan diet *could* be effective for the same reason a ketogeninc diet is. Granted, not all vegans would make food choices that would result in a very low carb intake, but the opportunity is there.
In short, the study may have proven what we already know. Simple carbs from sugar and refined grains can wreck your blood sugar.
If you go out and kill your own meat, and eat it, as well as everything else, in moderation, you are on the right track.
The problem with all food product offered cheaply in supermarkets is whats in it and what was it grown with...I am not crazy about meat pumped up with hormones and massive doses of steroids and antibiotics, nor vegitable doused with fertilizers and lethal insecticides.
Like most people I don't grow enough of my own vegitables nor shoot enough of my own game meat to really make a difference in my diet.
I got my blood sugar under control by living on a low carb diet. I like meat and eat it most meals. On my low carb diet,exercise and current medication I have lost 35 lbs and brought my blood sugar into a controlled range under 125 from over 300. A new medication I just started is also very good. It is called "Beyeta" and is a last step before insulin.